Home Places to visit Cool Gardens: UPS Waterfall Garden Park, Seattle

Cool Gardens: UPS Waterfall Garden Park, Seattle

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Me soaking up the sun in the UPS Waterfall Garden Park
Me soaking up the sun in the UPS Waterfall Garden Park

Japanese oasis in the heart of the city

I’m ashamed to say I’ve just got around to posting the lovely little UPS Waterfall Garden Park from my trip to the US, ahem, in May/June 2017. However, it really is a cool little garden…

There’s nothing quite like stumbling across a hidden gem of tranquillity in the centre of a busy city.

This is exactly what we did when wandering around Seattle’s Pioneer District when we almost passed the entrance of the UPS Waterfall Garden Park.

Actually, a park would be the wrong word, as it’s tiny (60ft x 80ft) but it appears much larger and certainly packs a punch.

A 22-ft artificial waterfall seemingly cascades from the surrounding skyscrapers, pumping out 5,000 US gallons of water per minute.

Great place for lunch

The waterfall blocks out city noise and it’s shady, thanks to the overhanging trees and it’s a great place to have lunch, thanks to a scattering of chairs and tables.

The ‘pocket park’ was created in 1978 at the original United Parcel Service building in Pioneer Square – it contains a monument to US Postal Service workers.

Although classed as private, it’s open to the public during the day and closes at night.

Designed by Masao Kinoshita, it has a Japanese theme and is a tranquil spot.

The Hinoki cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa) is especially impressive and there are lots of other oriental plants and shade-lovers around.

I have no idea what this butterfly is but it's lovely!
I have no idea what this butterfly is but it’s lovely!

Famed garden designer

The irregular-shaped pool was designed by Yoshikuni Araki, the famed garden designer and landscape architect.

It was funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation to commemorate UPS’s founder, James Casey. Enjoy it – it’s been described as ‘one of the most expensive parks per square foot ever built in the US’.

The American Nurserymen’s Association honoured the garden with its Environmental Award in 1981.

It’s just down the street from other tourist locations like the Klondike Museum (free) and Occidental Square.

Address: 219 2nd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104, USA

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Mandy Watson is a freelance journalist and an incurable plantaholic. MandyCanUDigIt grew from the tiny seed of a Twitter account into the rainforest of information you see before you. Gardening columnist for the Sunderland Echo, Shields Gazette and Hartlepool Mail and editor of the Teesdale Mercury Magazine. Attracted by anything rebellious, exotic and nerdy, even after all these years. Passionate about northern England and gardens everywhere. Falls over a lot.

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